Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.â€™Â
Four Officers on Scene at February 14 Parkland Shooting Did Not Enter School BuildingÂ
(Washington, DC) â€“Â Judicial Watch today released Broward County Sheriffâ€™s OfficeÂ training and operationÂ materials that specifically dictate that the first one or two officers on the scene of an active shooter incident â€œwill immediately go to confront the shooter.â€
The Broward County Sheriffâ€™s Officeâ€™s Standard Operating Procedure and lesson plans for an active shooter incident were obtained by Judicial Watch via a Florida Sunshine Act records request.
The Broward County Sheriffâ€™s OfficeÂ confirmedÂ that armed school resource officer Deputy Scot Peterson was first on the scene of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but he did not enter the school to confront shooter Nikolas Cruz.
Three other deputies also arrived on the scene but did not enter,Â the sheriffâ€™s office said. The Broward County materials direct that if four officers are on the scene of an active shooter incident they are to form a â€œQuadâ€ formation and enter the building.
The lesson plan instructs officers toÂ immediately confrontÂ a shooter:
History shows when a suspect is confronted by any armed individual (police, security, concealed carry person) they either shoot it out with that person or kill themselves. Either way, the shooting of innocent bystanders must stop. Now, the first officer or two officers on scene will immediately go to confront the shooter. Military tactics work well in this situation. The two man â€œbounding overwatchâ€ is our response.
Using lessons learned fromÂ ColumbineÂ (the 1999Â high school massacreÂ where officers waited for a SWAT team and allowed two shooters to continue) the first four responding officers are directed to form a â€œQuadâ€ and approach from all directions:
During Columbine, the response to an ongoing shooting situation was to contain the suspect. After Columbine the International Chiefs of Police addressed the problem with the response and came up with the â€œQuadâ€ or diamond formation. With the quad, the first four officers to respond entered the building with coverage in all directions. This was critical to address the concerns of officers who previously would not enter and just wait for SWAT.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said during aÂ news conferenceÂ that â€œWhat I saw was a deputy [Peterson] arrive â€¦ take up a position and he never went in.â€ Israel said Peterson should have â€œwent in. Addressed the killer. Killed the killer.â€
The lesson plan clearly states: â€œIf you are on scene or in the area and hear gunshots, you should immediately access what you have andÂ prepare to respond. Remember, every time you hear a gunshot in an active shooter incident; you have to believe that is another victim being killed.â€
The training materials also state that the first officers on the scene will â€œengage the suspect,â€ which Peterson did not do. â€œThere are now three teams during Active Shooter Incident [Contact, Extraction and Rescue Task Force]: Contact Team: Is first on scene, 1-4 deputies, they will be actively engaging/searching for suspect (HOT ZONE).â€
The lesson plan lists â€œpriorities of lifeâ€ as: 1) Hostages/victims; 2) Innocent Bystanders; 3) Police/deputies; and 4) Suspects. â€œIf in doubt about going through the door after a suspect, think about the victims and where they stand on the list.â€
The importance of a fast and effective response is emphasized: â€œTime is criticalÂ in each of these incidents. This is like no other crime. The motive is to kill as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. Why? Because the bad guy knows â€˜weâ€™ are coming.â€
An exercise designed for aÂ lone deputyÂ on the scene of an active shooting is intended to â€œget the deputy moving towards the gunfire, passing dead students and others running by him.â€ However, â€œthere is no reason to give up a good position of coverâ€ if the shooting has stopped. â€œRemember the cavalry is on their way, so itâ€™s better to hold, than to expose yourself to unknown threats.â€
The Broward County Sheriffâ€™s OfficeÂ Standard Operating ProcedureÂ states: â€œIf real time intelligence exists the sole deputy or a team of deputies may enter the area and/or structure to preserve life. A supervisorâ€™s approval or on-site observation is not required for this decisionâ€¦. If the situation turns to a barricade or hostage situation the response team will contain, isolate, communicate and wait for SWAT.â€
Records obtainedÂ by Judicial Watch also show that Sheriff Israel is the second highest paid of Floridaâ€™s 67 sheriffs atÂ $186,631Â for Fiscal Year 2017/18. The sheriff was eligible forÂ $2,000Â in supplemental pay for completion of a 20-hour training course. In 2016, Israel received a warning letter that he hadÂ not successfully completedÂ the course and his supplemental pay was being withheld.
â€œThese Broward County Sheriffâ€™s Office documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that the law enforcement agency failed the victims of the Parkland shooting,â€ said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. â€œLives were lost in Parkland because the Sheriffâ€™s Office personnel were either poorly trained or failed to follow training protocols.â€